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ex coelis Proud to be Canadian

July 15, 2003

Online Petition

Naomi Longson has just put up a well written letter and petition at http://gopetition.com/info.php?petid=2656 calling for Vindication For The Canadian Airborne Regiment and asks that you head over and sign it. Read what she has to say then click on the Sign the Petition link at the bottom if you feel the same way.

The Petition to Parliament is still very important though, so if you haven't already, download a copy, take it out and get it signed. Post one in your local legion (and make sure you go back for it). Get your friends and family involved. Let's make this work. When you are done, mail it to the office of Leon Benoit, MP, at 613 Justice Building, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6.

Posted by Rob at July 15, 2003 09:58 AM
Comments

Thank you so much, Rob, I will be downloading a copy of the parliamentary petition as well, and sending it off. I've shown my family, and will be showing friends, and passing the word along as much as I can. This has really affected me, and it's so easy to understand why. We've all seen movies about this sort of thing happening, but never in my wildest imagination would I have ever thought that something like this would be staring us right in the face.

The cold brutal reality is that these good soldiers do have their dignity, that can never be taken away. They know this as an injustice, a wrong, how can they not.

That they know it is a wrong that has been done, not only personally to each and every one of them on unfathomable levels, but also the regiment as a whole. They will be known as a regiment that has survived this tragedy, and come out in the end as soldiers who never truly lost one shred of their dignity, because what belongs to them can never be taken away...

It is only a matter of time. Personally, I am still in shock, wandering around in a stupor, wondering how they could have let this happen.

Thanks again, and I hope to contribute in some positive fashion, because I believe with all my heart that we will see these men decorated for what they have endured.

Naomi

Posted by: Naomi on July 15, 2003 03:49 PM

Update:

The petitiion is moving of it's own accord, without solicitation, provocation, coersion, nothing on my part, yet every day there are steadily a few more and a few more....thanks to all who are signing! I was worried about it not being seen by enough people or what have you, because I'm not able to circulate it too broadly at the moment, I told my siblings and one or two friends...but the rest? I have no idea where they are coming from, but they keep coming and signing!

It's grown to some 37 signatures in just a few days.

Maybe I'll go post the url around town, but it is such an interesting experiment to see it grow without provocation, or influence. It could be viewed as some promotional solicitation or some infomercial.

Instead, it is alive, the spirit is alive and it grows of its own accord.

:)

Posted by: Naomi on July 22, 2003 04:41 PM

Critics Forget Canadian Troops in Somalia Accomplished Mission

Canadian Airborne Battlegroup Praised for Outstanding performance in Somalia by All nations but Their Own

This month's release of the final report of the Somalia Inquiry rekindled media interest in the 1992-93 Canadian Airborne Regiment Battlegroup mission to east Africa. Press coverage of Operation Deliverance has been focused entirely on the murder of a Somali teen and its alleged cover-up by senior officials in National Defence Headquarters. The unfortunate result of highlighting the actions of an irresponsible handful of soldiers is that the Canadian success story in Somalia has been completely overlooked by mainstream media and is thus unknown to a majority of Canadians.

What has not become common knowledge in this country is that in three short months, Canadian soldiers brought peace and order to a region where violent death and armed clashes were common-place. They achieved stability using an uniquely Canadian combination of force and diplomacy, in circumstances much closer to full scale war than the peacekeeping missions most of us are familiar with.

Paratroopers from the Canadian Airborne Regiment, tankers from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, and Canadian Engineers did not go to Somalia to feed the starving. The people, equipment and food to do that were already in Somalia. Canadian troops were there to use armed force to stop the private Somali armies from disrupting the delivery of aid. Heavily armed gangs, often under the influence of a local drug Khat, obeyed no laws and were quite willing to kill whoever stood in their way.

Canadian troops brought order to the region by establishing a strong combat presence that included Grizzly Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the Cougar Fire Support Vehicles of the Dragoons. This display of Canadian combat power was enough to convince local warlords that any attempt to continue their clan warfare or to interfere with humanitarian relief efforts would produce many more costs than benefits. A number of incidents early in the mission, involving attacks on Canadian patrols soon demonstrated that Canadian force was not just for show.

But the Canadians also established a reputation for fairness and professionalism unlike some of the other coalition forces in Somalia that often used excessive force. On numerous occasions, the well trained and disciplined Canadians held their fire in potentially explosive situations, opting to negotiate a non-violent solution. This combination of military coercion and diplomacy on the part of the Canadian troops quickly earned the respect and trust of the local Somalis creating an atmosphere of security that convinced them to lay down their arms.

It was this sense of trust created in the Canadian area that enabled the force commander to declare the 30 000 km2 area secure only three months after the arrival of the 900-man battlegroup.With the area secure, food and aid convoys could once again range out into the countryside to bring relief to tens of thousands of sick and starving people.

When one considers the length of time it has taken to create similar levels of security in other areas like the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda, the Canadian achievement in Somalia is even more remarkable. Add to that the logistical difficulties created by the change in mission from peacekeeping to combat intervention only days before the scheduled arrival of the first Canadian troops to Somalia, and the physical hardships of operating in intense heat and dust.

With these impressive achievements in mind it is difficult to see how this operation has been deemed by the press to be one of the worst military disasters in our history. Fellow coalition member nations, Somali citizens, and human rights groups agree that the Canadians in Somalia were the best disciplined and most professional among the Unified Task Force(UNITAF) and that the illegal killings carried out in the Canadian sector were an aberration in no way reflective of the performance of the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battlegroup as a whole.

Posted by: bob on August 25, 2003 10:56 PM
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